Friday Film : Sherpa : documentary review
If you want genuine diversity in film, try Sherpa on for size. Talented, skilled people of different ethnicities on both sides of the camera telling a riveting story that wins awards on merit.
If there’s any doubt that some of the best stories being told today are to be found in documentaries rather than in feature films, Sherpa dispels it within the first five minutes. Straight in we get heroes to root for, a glimpse into a world we know little about and the sense of impending drama. The fact that the drama comes with tragedy that makes a story about a small community a headline grabbing global cautionary tale makes the film even more important.
If you build it well, Jada Pinkett-Smith, the awards will come naturally.
Jennifer Peedom has directed an engrossing human story about real people and real lives and the film is reaping the accolades.
Intrigued by a physical fight on Everest in 2013, she and her fellow filmmakers set out to film the 2014 Everest climbing season, not from the point of view of the Western climbers but that of the Sherpas who normally just form a human backdrop to the former.
They could not have foreseen the huge tragedy that prematurely ended the climbing season or the political aftermath of that great loss of human life. As they were filming, 16 Sherpas were killed when a 14million ton of ice crashed down on them along the climbing route.
The Sherpas are a small ethnic group in Nepal, about 100,000 strong. This film explores some of their history alongside the story of one climbing season and the characters involved in it.
Described by the producer as essentially ‘an industrial dispute on Everest’ the film is never less than engrossing as it takes the audience from the spiritual beliefs of the men who lead the climbers up the mountain they hold sacred to the physical hardships and risks they take to make modest amounts of money.
Those who risk the most pay the highest price is the film’s tagline. The film that follows shows the truth of it.
Catch Sherpa anywhere you still can at a cinema to enjoy the majesty of the mountain on a big screen. Otherwise get the dvd.